Sunday, July 31, 2022

Jeopardy! finally decides on who will host

Hands on the buzzer!




"I write today with the exciting news that we have closed and signed deals with Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings to be the hosts of Jeopardy! moving forward. In Mayim and Ken, we have two outstanding hosts at the beginning of their Jeopardy! hosting careers who connect with their own unique fanbases, new fans, and the traditional Jeopardy! viewer."

- Jeopardy! executive producer Michael Davies in a statement on the show's website, July 27, 2022

It has taken some time, but Jeopardy! has finally decided to appoint Ken Jennings as one of the hosts of the show.  Jennings will share the hosting duties with former Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik.  The decision should satisfy most fans, including myself.  For months now, we have become accustomed to the duo sharing the hosting duties, although it was never made official until now.

Mayim Bialik

Ken Jennings

Jennings will host the show when the new season begins in September.  He will also preside over the Second Chance competition.  Bialik, who currently plays the title role on  Fox's Call Me Kat, is scheduled to host Celebrity Jeopardy! in prime time on ABC, as well as the Jeopardy! National College Championship.  In addition, she will host the main show for a period of time beginning in January.  

- Joanne

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Is Netflix in trouble?

Netflix is often referred to as a "giant streaming service."  For years, it has dominated the world of internet streaming like a colossus.  However, the landscape has changed dramatically since the company launched its service back in 2007.  That's why the July 19th report of its second quarter earnings is not really surprising.  

For the first time in a decade, Neflix reported a loss of an additional 970,000 subscribers.  Obviously, that is not a positive trend.  Yet it is actually better than the company had anticipated.  Netflix had projected a second quarter loss of two million subscribers.  That's why its stock price increased by more than six per after-hours trading upon news of its second quarter results.

Tom Fitzgerald, in a July 19th article in Forbes magazine is cautiously optimistic about the future of Netflix.  He writes that "Netflix predicted it would return to black among subscribers in the third quarter, projecting it will add one million.  Last year during the same period, it added 4.4 million, so while recovery is significant, the company is still nowhere near returning to its peak boom period."

Netflix will probably always play a significant role in the streaming world.  It's doubtful, however, that the company will ever return to the prosperity it enjoyed during its peak boom period.  It has lost its monopoly and it faces stiff competition.  New streaming services are popping up like weeds in a field.  There are far more choices than when the company began streaming in 2007.  It is  no longer the only kid in town.  It has to share the market with Amazonn Prime, Disney Plus and others.

Greater competition is not the only challenge facing Netflix.  There are also other factors involved in the decline of the company's subscribers.  For example, it removed itself from the Russian market when the war in Ukraine broke out.  Furthermore, Netflix has increased its prices and cancelled shows.

A Netflix monthly subscription currently costs $9.99 for the Basic Plan, $15.99 for Standard, and $19.99 for Premium.  In April, the company announced that it would introduce a new lower priced subscription plan for consumers.  In addition to the ad-free Basic, Standard and Premium plans, Netflix decided to team up with Microsoft as a global advertising technology and sales partner.

The powers-that-be at Netflix are clearly concerned.  The second quarter results came a day after the service announced that it would start testing a new system which would enable it to crack down on pas account sharing, which it has blamed for some of its woes.  It's certainly no secret that users share their passwords outside their households.

Netflix boasts approximately 220.67 million paid subscribers worldwide and it remains a formidable streaming service.  It will not be easily toppled like a house of cards.  It owes it success to its content, including the return of popular shows such as Stranger Things.  Yet, the company faces enormous challenges.  It's future depends on how well it deals with those challenges.

- Joanne

Thursday, July 21, 2022

It's time to make Ken Jennings host of Jeopardy!

Ken Jennings has been appearing on our screens this week as host of Jeopardy! for the first time since May.  The question is: Why hasn't Ken been appointed a permanent host yet?  What, pray tell, is the reason for the delay?  Is it because the powers-that-be want to be perfectly certain that there are no scandals in his past or any inappropriate remarks on Twitter or on a podcast?  

That's understandable given the fiasco over Mike Richards and his eventual firing.  However, there has been ample time to check Ken out and to make sure he's been properly vetted.  So what's the the reason for the long wait?  Is Ken himself uncertain about taking on the job?  If he doesn't want to be permanent host, why doesn't he make his position clear?  If he hasn't made up his mind yet, it's time for him to do so.  Perhaps the producers are waiting for his decision before giving him a green light.  There may also be another reason that has not been disclosed to the public.  We have no idea what's been going on behind the scenes.  Whatever the reason for the delay,  a decision should be made soon.

Ken and Mayim Bialik have each been criticized by Jeopardy! fans for various reasons.  The show's viewers are incredibly loyal and opinionated.  Yet it's no easy task to host the fast-paced game show.  Ken and Mayim will never please everyone and it is impossible to find a host who is absolutely perfect and never errs.  I think they have both been doing a good job and I would like to see them continue sharing the hosting duties.

It's time for Ken Jennings to be named an official host of Jeopardy!  Alex Trebek died in November of 2020 and the show needs the stability of a permanent host.  Ken is a master of trivia.  He is genial and he knows the game inside out.  If he doesn't want the job, he should let it be known so that alternative  arrangements can be looked into as soon as possible.

- Joanne

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Whatever happened to Pat Carroll?

"I think it always went against the female image for a woman to be funny.  But within families everywhere., they talk about Aunt Tilly, who was a hoot, and Grandma Marian will just keep you in stitches.  Woman have a sense of humour, always have had.  In many cases, within families, they've been the only ones to  keep the beacon of laughter alive.  And I just think that the translation to the theatrical profession is not difficult for women, except for the prejudice of people who did not want to see them acting silly  They wanted them to maintain themselves as ladies.  Well, please forgive me, but ladies have a sense of humour as well."

- Pat Carroll, The Let's Visit Show, with David Welsh, September 25, 2011

I've been watching old episodes of Make Room for Daddy (September 1953 to April 1957) on ABC)later known as the Danny Thomas Show (October 1957 to 1964 on CBS).  As a result, I've been feeling curious about several members of the cast {I've already written about the tragic death of Rusty Hamer, who played Danny's son, Rusty Williams, on the show.  In 1990, Rusty died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 42).  The only major cast  members still alive are Sherry Jackson (born February 15, 1942), who played older daughter Terry Williams, Angela Cartwright (born September 9,1952), who played younger daughter Linda Williams, and Pat Carroll, who played Bunny Helper.

To be honest, I wasn't sure whether Pat Carroll was still alive.  I looked her up and discovered that she remains active at the age of 95. She's has worked professionally since 1947 as an award-winning actress, comedian and singer.  

Patricia Ann Carroll was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on May 5, 1927, the daughter of Maurice Clifton Carroll and Kathryn Angela (née Meagher).  When Pat was five years old, the Carroll family moved to Los Angeles and she began performing in local productions.  From 1944 to 1947, Pat attended Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles.  During the years following World War II, she toured with the United States Army as a civilian actress technician.  She also enrolled in Catholic University of America, a private research university in Washington, D.C., where she received a Bachelor's degree in Acting in 1950.

Pat received her first acting credit for her role as Lorelei Crawford in the 1948 film, Hometown Girl.  During the early days of television, she guest starred in anthology series such as Goodyear Playhouse (1951), The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse (1954), Kraft Theatre (1955), General Electric Theater (1959) and The DuPont Show with June Allyson (1959).  She also appeared on The Dennis Day Show (1954), The Mickey Rooney Show (1954) and The Ann Sothern Show (1961).

In 1957, Pat received an Emmy Award for her work on Caesar's Hour, a love hour-long sketch comedy TV show featuring such notables as Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner and Janet Blair.

From 1961 to 1964, Pat appeared in 40 episodes of The Danny Thomas Show.  She played Bunny Helper, the spirited wife of nightclub owner Charlie Helper (Sid Melton).  In a 2014 interview classicshowbiz, here's what she had to say about Sid: "Oh, my darling Sid Melton!  There was another nervous nellie, God bless him!  He had done The Danny Thomas Show long before I ever appeared on the scene.  He was a nervous wreck!  I practically had to hold his hand and pat his brow . . .  But he was fun and he was a good actor and he knew exactly what his place was and played that to the nth degree.  He was a wonderful companion.  He really was.  I always got a kick out of Sid."

Pat Carroll and Sid Melton

In the 1965 television production of Roges and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Pat portrayed Prunella, one of the wicked stepsisters.

Pat Carroll in Cinderella

Pat continued to work in prime time series throughout the 1970s and 1980s.  From 1971 to 1972, she had a recurring role in the Bobby Sherman series Getting Together.  She was a guest star in a 1971 episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show entitled "Hi!" (Season 1, Episode 20, Air Date: February 6, 1971).  In the episode, Mary gets her tonsils removed and must share a hospital room with a very grumpy, played by Pat.  In her interview with David Welsh, Pat recounted how some viewers were upset with her for how her character treated Mary's character.

Pat in hospital scene with Mary

In 1971, Pat also appeared in episodes of My Three Sons and The Interns.  In 1976, she was cast as Lily Feeney, mother of Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) on the ABC comedy Laverne and Shirley,  She appeared in an episode of the series entitled "Mother Knows Worst" (Season 1, Episode 15, Air Date: May 18, 1976).

Pat with Cindy Williams on Lavern & Shirley

In 1977, Pat appeared as Pearl Markowitz alongside Adam Arkin in 12 episodes of Busting Loose, a comedy about a 24 year-old-slacker who moves away from home for the first time.  In 1983, she guest starred in an episode of Designing Women.   From 1986 to 1987, Pat had a role as Hope Stinson in 20 episodes of the Ted Knight sitcom Too Close for Comfort.  From 1987 to 1989, she played Gussie Holt in 45 episodes of She's the Sheriff, a comedy starring Suzanne Somers.  

Since the late1980s, Pat has done a great deal of voice work on animated shows such a A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and too Garfield television specials.  In 1989, she provided the voice for the sea witch Ursula in the Disney film The Little Mermaid.  She sang :"Poor Unfortunate Souls" and considers the role to be one of the highlights of her career.

In 2005, Pat made three guest appearances on the medical drama ER as Rebecca Chadwick.  

In 1955, Pat married talent agent Lee Karsian.  The couple had three children - Tara, Kerry and Sean Karsian - and divorced in 1976.  Tara Karsian (born August 5, 1965) is an actress, producer and director. 

More recent photo of Pat


* Pat Carroll is a lifelong Republican and a devout Roman Catholic.

* During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Pat appeared in many variety shows such as The Steve Allen Show, The Red Buttons Show, The Danny Kaye ShowThe Red Skelton Hour and The Carol Burnett Show.  She also appeared on game shows such as The Price is Right, Password and To Tell the Truth.

* In the 1970s, Pat performed in Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, a successful one woman show on the  American novelist, poet and playwright In 1980, she won a Grammy Award (with others) for Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording of her Gertrude Stein performance.

* Pat's ex-husband, Lee Karsian, died on June 26, 1991 in Las Vegas Nevada.  He was 66 at the time of his passing.

* Pat's daughter, Tara Karsian, is known for her recent TV roles aa Gayle Burns in The Morning Show (2021) , Chef Bertie on American Horror Story (2019) and Lucille on Review (2014-2017).

Tara Karsian

* Sid Melton, who played Charlie Helper, Pat's husband on The Danny Thomas Show, died on November 3, 2011 at the age of 94.

* Danny Thomas, who played nightclub entertainer Danny Williams on his show, died of a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills, California on February 6, 1991.  He was 79 at the time of his passing.  

* Jean Hagan played Danny Williams/ first wife, Margaret, from 1953 to 1956.  After three seasons, she left the series.  Her character was killed off rather than recast.  As a result, Danny Williams became a widower and a single father.  Jean Hagan died of esophageal cancer on August 29, 1977.  She was 54.

* Marjorie Lord, who played Danny Thomas' second TV wife, Kathy, from 1957 to 1964, passed away on November 28, 2015.  She was 97 years old.

* Louise Beavers, who played the Williams family's housekeeper, Louise Evans, died on October 26, 1962 at the age of 62.  When she became ill in 1955, Amanda Randolph assumed the role of Louise,  Amanda died of a stroke on August 24, 1967 at the age of 70.

SOURCES classicshowbiz, "Classic Television Showbix: An Interview with Pat Carroll, Part Three" January 1, 2014; Pixie Video: The Let's Visit Show, with David Welsh, September 25, 2011; Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

- Joanne

UPDATE (July 31, 2020):  Pat Carroll passed away on Saturday, July 30, 2022 at her home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  She was 95.  Her daughter, Tara, announced on her Facebook page that Pat died of pneumonia.